My sweet friend Heidi Treibel joins us today. I asked her for permission to share this beautiful story, knowing that many of you can relate. These are her words.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
I cannot be who I once was.
Fingerprints from hands not formed leave their impressions on my heart. Silent voices whisper deep inside me, sounds only a mother can hear. Avery Rose and Everett James lived only weeks in my womb, but now live forever with my King.They are the heaven-born babies swept up into my heavenly inheritance.
And I cannot be who I once was.
My feet too long have been firmly planted on this foreign land; and my heart has been sinking into it. I’ve fallen for the lie that what I see is all there is, while mouthing the words to songs of an unseen reality. Though I have not seen Jesus with my physical eyes, I have imagined him waiting for me in heaven. But my mind has gotten sidetracked with mortgages and grocery lists and one more cup of coffee…
But I cannot be who I once was!
For if my two babies cannot be used to change me, who can? I have seen their tiny frames. I have held their lifeless forms in my hand. I have grieved all the plans I had in mind: their births, nursing them from my body, snuggling them as their sleepy infant eyes closed. They are real to me. They really lived inside me, gaining their very lives from my life. And then, like dreams that fade upon waking, they were gone.
I have not seen my Savior in heaven, but I have seen the children who await me in heaven. And in the devastation of my loss, they have given me a very sweet gift.
I am not who I once was.
Now, my mind is not pretending to dwell on heaven; my daydreams take me there. My heart is not forced to long for eternity; it aches to be swallowed up by immortality. I am not just mouthing the words to the songs longing for Christ’s return; I sing “Come, Lord Jesus,” with the saints of the ages.
I do not love my babies more than I love Jesus. But they were tangible rays of light sent to me, light that I could see and touch and grieve and miss. They came to me on this dusty earth, then went ahead of me to wait until the Lamb returns for His bride. They are my tethers to heaven, pulling my heart in the direction it needs to go.
I am not who I once was.
Christ is risen from the dead. My living hope in him is to be raised to life, along with my babies and all who long for his appearing. This inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfailing. The brief earthly lives of Avery and Everett have bridged a gap within me: the gap between my head and my heart. My head always knew what the Bible said. But now my heart knows. I am a stranger and foreigner on this earth. I long for a city with foundations, whose builder and designer is God. There my hope is kept. There my babies are safe. There my Savior reigns.
I will never be free of the grief of losing the children of my womb. I cannot be thankful they died. But I can be thankful that in their deaths, they have awakened my heart to my true life.
I will not be who I once was.